The Ultimate Right

I have come to the striking conclusion that the ultimate right – that which secures all others – is the right to leave.

If that right is not respected, however well you are treated, you are indeed a slave.

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The ROSE Amendment: Right of Secession

Even back in my minarchist days, I always thought decentralization was the most promising path to liberty. Today, I stumbled upon the text of a proposal I had for a Right Of Secession (ROSE) Amendment to the US Constitution, which would explicitly recognize the right of self-determination of the constituent states:

Considering it the most expedient way to create legal recognition for the inherent right of free individuals to remove territories they own from the political authority to which they were formerly bound (by choice or force), we hereby express our support for the addition of the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America: 

WHEREAS the issue was formerly settled by force of arms over reasoned discourse, and 

WHEREAS, since the War Between The States, it is generally accepted that this Constitution prohibits secession, 

THEREFORE we, the citizens of the States, hereby make explicit the unilateral right of secession by any constituent state or territory under this Constitution, in a manner to be specified by the laws of said state or territory. 

The Free States of New York Revisited

Here’s an updated map, reflecting boundaries more respectful of ground conditions, the addition of the Free State of Catskill, and the primate cities of each state:

Dream of what could be.

Dream of what could be.

Note: For New Rome, the primate city is a proposed new city, at the present site of Rome, New York, called New Rome. Hopefully, Albany can fade away quietly.

The American Confederation Society

The American Confederation Society is a proposed organization dedicated to reform the imperial United States of America into a humble American Confederation. This confederation would look more like our confederal government under the Articles of Confederation than our federal/imperial government under the Constitution.

The Confederal Government would be truly predicated on the consent of its participant states – including their right to unilateral withdrawal – and could come to include any states that met our accession criteria, including Canadian provinces or Mexican states. But before we consider enlarging our club, we must first put our own house in order.

All decisions not related to defense, keeping the borders open between states, or settling disputes between states would be handled by the sovereign state governments. Hopefully, those state governments will exercise little force over their citizens, but the plethora of states and open borders will allow residents to vote with their feet if one state goes sour. Affecting policy within a state will be handled by the Free State Society, Libertarian Party, or other freedom-organization of that state. The Confederation Society will be free to make recommendations to state governments on strategies to increase liberty, including the use of sortition and range voting to select legislatures, strengthening constitutional bills of rights, and preventing unions and corporations from undermining the civil power.

The program will include:

• Empower the Senate. If President of the Senate (Vice-President) can command majority of the Senate, then he may represent the Senate. If not, then he will select a President Pro Tempore who can command majority to represent the Senate.

• Disempower President into figurehead. President may select and dismiss Cabinet (Order of Administration) and Supreme Court (Order of Adjudication) only on the advice of the Senate.

• Disband House of Representatives. Senate becomes known as the ‘Congress of the Confederation’ and its members as ‘Delegates.’ President becomes ‘President of the Confederation, in Congress Assembled’ selected by anti-voting (to be explained in a later post) in Congress. President of the Senate (Vice-President) and Speaker of the House merged into ‘Speaker for the Congress,’ commanding a majority in the Congress and directing the Cabinet. Repeal direct election of Senators (17th Amendment) in favor of selection determined by the laws of the States.

• Repeal 16th Amendment, Commerce Clause, and other onerous parts of the Constitution. Disband the Federal Reserve and eliminate federal jurisdiction over currency. Disband the Department of Homeland Security, the CIA, the NSA, and all other federal criminal organizations. Disband the myriad federal departments that do not deal directly with defense.

• Make federal land and assets available for homesteading in order to reduce federal holdings to those which are necessary to pursue its limited functions.

• Default on the federal debt and entitlement obligations. It wasn’t our fault that our imperial masters sold our futures down the river for their political expedience. Consequences will be limited if we no longer depend on a fiat currency that could potentially devalue.

There is more about the Confederation Society here. I am in the process of drafting proposed Articles of the Confederation Society. Each current federation or large nation-state has its own challenges in becoming a peaceful confederation. Hopefully, I can address a potential program for several of them in future posts. If you believe in this program, please start a local chapter of the Confederation Society, keep me in the loop, and check back for more innovative reform strategies and proposals.

The Free States of New York

On the subject of New York City secession, one fellow wrote that the 5 Boroughs should secede along with the suburban counties of Upstate New York, Long Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey. It would look something like this:

I would like to take that idea one step further. I have developed a map of several states that could be carved out of what is now New York. It is my theory that large states turn to statism because they are ungovernable. A writer once wrote, “quality does not scale.” This is often true. Companies face this issue when they grow too large to evolve rapidly with their market or connect with their customers. So, here is a first draft of a new map of the New Netherland region of the northeast:

Interestingly enough, another fellow had a similar idea that he developed into the alternative history of the Republic of New Netherland.

While that was just a thought experiment, my initiative is quite serious. New York doesn’t make sense in its current configuration. The only feeling upstaters and downstaters have for each other is disdain. Albany steals all our money and uses to further suffocate the upstate economy with government programs. Upstate has virtually emptied out under the weight of poor governance. The answer is to divide the states. Let the City-State of Gotham be born. Just that move would resolve tensions between East and West Jersey, and New-York and New-England Connecticut. Even Pennsylvania should probably lyse into two states.

Comments welcome.